Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Time in the oval office ...

No matter how hard I try to prevent a single particle of gluten from entering my body, I occasionally become “glutenized.” The worst symptom (among many) for me is that I am forced to sprint for the Throne Room several times a day—or even several times an hour, if I’ve had a particularly bad exposure.

When glu&$#n happens, I can usually figure out where I made the slip-up (bad image)—and I am usually over my symptoms within a couple of days. After a recent trip to Costa Rica, however, I’m still having a lot of trouble finding relief from my symptoms. In fact, I’ve had the scoots for more than two weeks.

No problems eating in Costa Rica--if
you're a howler monkey!
Now, Doug and I have traveled to Costa Rica with friends every January for the past few years, and I have never experienced any trouble equal to this recent episode. While we’re there, we do most of our own cooking, and if we eat out, I quiz the wait staff about gluten, just as I would at home. I try not to order anything  “iffy” at all, mostly opting to eat grilled fish, beans, and rice.

I have racked my brain for the possible causes for this particularly difficult bout of glutenizing, and I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities: It was either a salad that I ate at a small booth (where I actually watched them blend the ingredients and saw nothing amiss) or the so-called Nachos Big As Your A$$ (yes, that’s the name on the menu) at one of our favorite beach hangouts.

Since I’ve had the NBAYA many times before without incident, I don’t think they were the culprit. (Oh, oh, oh! I really do hope not!) With the salad, I’m wondering if I picked up some kind of demon-possessed amoeba that has taken up residence in my gut. (Doug ate the same salad and was somewhat skitterish for a day or two, so I’m wondering if, because of my celiac disease, it just hit me harder.)

Anyway, I’ve been reading and reading—and surfing and surfing—to find out how to turn off the leakage, and I found a diet called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which has had some success at helping people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, celiac disease, and chronic diarrhea, among other bowel-related illnesses. The diet, which was formulated by Elaine Gotschall, author of Breaking the Vicious Cycle, is, of course, gluten-free and very restrictive in other ways (no grain, no sugar, for example), but if it works as well as testimony indicates, it might offer solutions to people with these issues—myself included.
The SCD bible.

Following the diet’s principles, I have eaten only eggs, ground beef patties, pureed carrots, and diluted grape juice for a couple of days, and the big D has currently ceased. A few days ago I would have done anything to shut off the faucet. I haven’t yet fully committed to the diet—I’m still studying—but it may be just what I need to live a healthier, happier life—a life outside the comfort station.

More information on the SCD can be found at these interesting websites:

If you’ve had experience with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I’d love to hear from you!